the Disillusioned kid: The Union Strikes Back
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Monday, August 15, 2005

The Union Strikes Back

Remember Gate Gourmet who waxed lyrical on the dedication to be found in their "employees [sic] blood"? It turns out that they might not have viewed their "most valuable resource" so highly after all:
THE catering company at the centre of the travel chaos at Heathrow considered provoking strikes last year so staff could be replaced with cheaper labour, a leaked memo revealed last night.

A secret internal briefing presented to bosses at Gate Gourmet, British Airways’ catering company, reads: “Recruit, train and security check drivers.

“Announce intention to trade union, provoking unofficial industrial action from staff. Dismiss current workforce. Replace with new staff.”

The draft document set out a 15-week timetable for goading employees into striking so that they could be replaced with lower-paid Eastern European labour trained in secret.
Critics have been quick to point out that this plan bears more than a passing resemblance to events last week which saw the company dismiss 800 staff who had taken unofficial action. Similarly The Mirror, who originally obtained the leaked memo, note that the document had suggested that most of the new drivers be brought in from Poland, as indeed were all the drivers drafted in last week to replace staff.

As you might expect, Gate Gourmet have described the contents of the leaked memo as "sheer lunacy," as well they might given the likely costs to them and BA of the strike. Striking workers had a very different response. TGWU shop steward, Sarijit Singh Sandu, told The Mirror, "We've always believed the actions were pre-planned. Now we are in no doubt."

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